Things to Remember When Calling 911 – Part II: Listen to the Dispatcher

People sometimes get frustrated with dispatchers because they think that in answering many questions, it is delaying a critical response.

Emergency Police Dispatcher

If calling 911, stay calm. The dispatcher has to be able to understand you to help you. When it comes to information about the call, they’ll usually ask who, what, where, when and sometimes why.

Deputies don’t want to respond blindly to a call that might become violent. Often, dispatchers will ask if any weapons, drugs or alcohol are involved for officer safety information. Listen to the dispatcher and let them lead you through questions.

Rather than just ask you open-ended questions, they may give you multiple choice answers. Those are often easier to process for people who are upset.

People sometimes get frustrated with dispatchers because they think that in answering many questions, it is delaying a critical response. But the dispatcher is not the one responding to the scene; in a public safety call, the deputy has already been dispatched. The information being gathered is being relayed simultaneously to the deputy heading to the scene of the call.

911 Tips

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The Cleveland Police Foundation, in partnership with the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio Crime Prevention Association present these tips so citizens can help to make our community safer. 


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